When you sit the exam you’re given a question sheet for Paper 1 –the Reading and Writing, and for Paper 2 – the Listening. Initially you just can’t understand why no allowance has been made so you can simply write your answers on these papers and not on the extra answer sheets.
The answer sheets appear to be extra sheets of paper getting in your way. They all have the numbered questions with the options available ranging from A to H in some instances and you have to mark your answers with a pencil. I would suggest you get used to completing these forms and not to worry about them so much as you’ll be surprised to find out that they can work in your favour. Yes, they are a help and an extra check in that you submit your answers correctly.
An important tip is that you answer the questions initially on the question paper. In fact you can do your plans, practice answers and any working out which you need to do on the question sheet, too. Underlining or circling any key words on the question paper will also be a great help to you when you transfer your final answers onto the answer paper. It all sounds like a lot of work and a waste of time but believe me it isn’t. All these little steps will make sure you provide the best possible answers and that you’re checking your work every step of the way.
Firstly, if you answer or rather circle the answers on the question sheet, then you won’t have to keep looking over and away from the question sheet to the answer sheet. This is when errors could be made.
At the end of the listening exam, you’re given a few minutes to transfer your answers. This will make sure that you circle the answers you intended.
For the reading part of the paper, simply copy your answers carefully onto the question paper.
For the writing part, especially parts 2 and 3, which need a fair amount of writing, I’d recommend using your question paper for your brainstorming and planning. Yes, you do need to do these to achieve the best possible marks! Do not write on the answer paper before you do these! Of course you are worried about having enough time to complete all these steps but they are essential. This will make the writing up of your final draft quicker than you think onto the answer sheet. Don’t forget, you can still correct anything you want as you’re using a pencil. Also, you must write the number of the question you are answering as there is a choice of two (7 or 8).
Now you can breathe. You’ve worked hard and checked your work carefully through various stages. The answer sheets have benefited you, after all!